Sustaining Ohio’s Arts and Culture Ecosystem


Sustaining Ohio’s Arts and Culture Ecosystem conference. Image credit: Heritage Ohio

by Missy Ricksecker

On December 9, 2014, a sold-out crowd came together at the Ohio History Center for a first-of-its-kind statewide conference on sustainability strategies for the staff, boards, and volunteers of Ohio’s arts and cultural organizations. “Sustaining Ohio’s Arts and Culture Ecosystem,” hosted by the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA), the Ohio History Connection (OHC), and Heritage Ohio, featured compelling presentations on the power of arts and culture to build strong, vibrant, and engaged communities, and practical advice on how to garner the support of funders and advocates for arts and cultural projects.


Keynote speaker Jamie Bennett Image Credit: ideastream

Jamie Bennett, executive director of ArtPlace America, delivered a stirring keynote address titled Creative Placemaking: Connecting Arts, Culture, and Community. From Sandy Duncan to Serena Williams, Bennett examined where and how we identify artists in our communities and how we can foster community development that drives our creativity as well as our local economies. Watch Bennett’s TEDx talk on creative placemaking here. As a follow-up to the keynote, panelists Jim Sweeney, executive director, Franklinton Development Association; Tim Tramble, executive director, Burton Bell Carr Development; and Matthew Fluharty, executive director, Art of the Rural, discussed their own successful creative placemaking projects, from reimagined neighborhoods in urban Cleveland and Columbus to rural towns and villages across the U.S. transformed by arts and cultural engagement.

The day began with Pecha Kucha-style presentations from Tim Peacock, executive director, Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville; Susan Gottlieb, curator and organizer, Zanesville Prize for Contemporary Ceramics; and Denise Rehg, vice president of development, Columbus Association for the Performing Arts. Speakers engaged the audience with stories and discussion about how cultural institutions–large and small, established and unconventional–connect people and build strong communities.

Breakout sessions focused on the nuts and bolts of how to create, maintain, and grow a healthy arts and cultural community. Experts from both sides of the funding equation discussed how to navigate funding sources and build strong advocacy networks in their communities.
Sessions included:

  • Financing Arts and Culture: Challenges, Opportunities, and Pitfalls, with Hugh Grefe, ‎senior executive director at Local Initiatives Support Corporation (Toledo); Jason Rittenberg, research & resources coordinator, Council of Development Finance Agencies (Columbus); David Alexander, commercial banking relationship manager for the Eastern Ohio Region of U.S. Bank (Cambridge); and Mark Barbash, executive vice president for strategic initiatives, Finance Fund (Columbus)
  • Organizing and Coordinating Your Proposal with Your Strategic Plan, with Andy Vernhoff, local history coordinator, OHC; and Wendy Zucal, executive director, Dennison Railroad Depot Museum
  • Building a Strong Advocacy Network, with William Blair, legislative counsel, OCA; Tom Katzenmeyer, president, Greater Columbus Arts Council; and Linda Woggon, executive director, OCA
  • Arts and Cultural Facility Funding through the State Capital Bill, with Tom Johnson and Denny Griffith, co-chairs, Capital Arts and Culture Committee; Jeff Westhoven, deputy director, Ohio Facilities Construction Commission; and Stephen George, senior advisor to the CEO, OHC.
  • Fundraising Campaigns and Board Engagement, with Chris Schmenk, board member, and Cara Dingus Brook, president and CEO, Foundation for Appalachian Ohio
  • Ohio Arts Council Resources, with Dan Katona, deputy director, OAC
  • Show Me the Money, with Pat Williamsen, executive director, Ohio Humanities Council

Participants gathered at the end of the day for a discussion about the OAC: Engaging Through Investment and Innovation, led by Donna Collins, OAC executive director, and Dan Katona, OAC deputy director. The interactive session was the culminating event of the OAC’s 2014 Fall Engagement Tour, which was designed to provide the agency with a better understanding of a broad range of Ohioans’ needs. The OAC staff plans on seeing you in 2015 as we travel the state to discover more of Ohio’s arts and cultural treasures!


William McCulloch and Jack Earl: An Ode to the Common Man

earl and dicke

OAC Board Member James Dicke II (left) and artist Jack Earl (right) with the bust of William McCulloch

by Holly Willer

Great men and women of history have been honored with commemorative busts for thousands of years. These statues—made out of marble, bronze, terracotta, or stone—ensure their stories of heroism will be told for generations to come. The practice has become less common than the times of Plato and Beethoven, perhaps in favor of the painted portrait or photograph. Because of their relative scarcity, modern day commemorative busts have become distinctively noteworthy. In fact, the Ohio Statehouse is home to only four modern busts: Abraham Lincoln, Salmon P. Chase, George Washington Williams, and, most recently, former congressman and civil rights champion William McCulloch.

Who was this great Ohioan William Moore McCulloch was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1932, serving as Minority Leader from 1936-1939 and as Speaker of the House from 1939-1944. A Republican from rural Ohio during an uncertain time in civil rights history, McCulloch took a politically risky stand for equal rights, working closely with the NAACP and supporting sit-ins at local diners. His efforts were vital in ending segregation in conservative Piqua. After serving in the United States Army during the Second World War, McCulloch went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives for 25 years. It was on this national stage that his fight for civil rights was fully realized when he became an integral architect of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. President John F. Kennedy stated that “without him, [the passage of the Civil Rights Bill of 1964] can’t be done.”

His story is often left untold in the history of the Civil Rights Movement, but Ohio Arts Council board member James Dicke II made it his mission to ensure McCulloch was not forgotten. Dicke, CEO of Crown Equipment, was a member of McCulloch’s congressional staff from 1966-1967. He witnessed first hand the congressman’s monumental work and has been instrumental in sharing McCulloch’s story. “It was an honor to work for him,” said Dicke. “He was a modest man in most of his life. People who are modest can get a lot accomplished, and he was no exception.”

An artist himself, James Dicke II served on the Smithsonian National Board and as chairman of commissioners of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He is also an avid supporter of the arts and the recipient of the 2007 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio in the Arts Patron category. With access to nationally recognized artists, Dicke knew exactly who to commission to create the bust. He didn’t have to look any further than his childhood home in rural Auglaize County, the same county McCulloch represented for decades, and the home of nationally recognized artist Jack Earl.

Through his ceramic sculptures, Jack Earl evokes the spirit of rural Ohio that McCulloch worked tirelessly to advance. Known as one of America’s premiere ceramic artists, Earl has been creating rural Ohio-inspired pieces since graduating with a master’s degree from Ohio State University in 1964. His work has been displayed in museums from the Kohler Arts Center to the Smithsonian American Art Museum. He is a 2000 Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship recipient, as well as the 2013 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio winner in the Individual Artist category. “I chose Earl [to create the bust] in part because I thought he was a logical choice. He is a revered Ohio artist,” Dicke said. “Additionally, he is not an artist normally represented in the Statehouse, as his background is in ceramics.”

The bust was unveiled during a special ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse on December 17, 2014. It will be on display outside the House chambers that William McCulloch had spent so many years presiding over. “He represented the best of the people of Ohio,” said House Speaker William Batchelder, who was pivotal in ensuring the bust would be placed outside the chambers. State Representative Richard Adams remarked, “This will have an influence on the legislators and an influence on the students who come to this place and pause here to be reminded how important it is to do something because it is the right thing to do.”

“Common people are smart people,” Jack Earl once said. This bust of a common man from Piqua, Ohio, who paved the way for civil rights in our nation connects us with a pivotal period in our nation’s history and reminds us, in the words of Plato, “Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.”

View Jack Earl’s rendition of William McCulloch outside the House chamber in the Ohio Statehouse.

“A Century of Ohio Watercolor” Exhibition Preview

by Molly Rutledge

A familiar childhood pastime for many of us, watercolor conjures memories of Crayola sets and painting at the dining room table. It is a special artistic medium deeply rooted in personal histories, and also the histories of artists, art movements, and entire art communities.


Alice Schille, “White Houses,” 1916, 26″ x 29,” Collection of the Canton Museum of Art

The Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery challenges perceptions of watercolor, peers into Ohio’s artistic past, and provides a glimpse of its future in A Century of Ohio Watercolor, on display January 29 through April 15, 2015. The show’s curator Charlotte Gordon, artistic director of the Southern Ohio Museum, Portsmouth (SOM), stated that the exhibition, “showcases watercolor painting from around the state and across the decades from Impressionism to Postmodernism. It exposes what was happening within the walls of studios around Ohio from artists that reflect the state’s cultural and sociological diversity.”

Beginning the century-long display, audiences will catch a glimpse of Alice Schille’s paintings. Schille was exposed to emerging art movements abroad such as Impressionism and Fauvism, and brought them back to Columbus, Ohio, where she lived and taught at the Columbus Art School (now the Columbus College of Art & Design). The two pieces in this exhibition reflect her overarching impact and influence that helped further important art movements in Ohio and the Midwest.


Emerson Burkhart, “Street Scene,” 1940, 19″ x 22,” Collection of the Canton Museum of Art

Like Schille, Emerson Burkhart worked and lived in Columbus, Ohio. While both Burkhart and Schille frequently painted scenes of everyday life, Burkhart’s work specifically captured the American Midwest, revealing Ohio’s past through his signature Regionalist paintings. Street Scene, one of two Burkhart works on display in the Riffe Gallery, captures Columbus’ darker days during the end of the Great Depression. Watercolor provided Burkhart the ability to capture this specific, fleeting moment and simultaneously convey a stagnant, dark, and relatable era in our nation’s history.

Effective not only in realistic representations, watercolor is frequently used to paint across various subject matter, styles, and techniques. Even pop art icon Roy Lichtenstein painted with watercolor on occasion. Lichtenstein studied and taught at The Ohio State University and later lived in Cleveland for more than 10 years.  The Sheriff, included in this exhibition, was created in 1952 while he lived in Ohio. The humorous subject matter and cartoon-like manner of The Sheriff foreshadows work the artist created during the 1960s Pop Art movement and reminds us great artists experiment and work through various mediums and art movements in their careers.

Fred Fochtman_Pear Study

Fred Fochtman, “Pear Study,” 2014, 16″ x 16″

Watercolor continues to be a versatile and varied medium in the work of contemporary Ohio artists. The singular, fleeting moment conveyed by the lush, painterly pears in Fred Fochtman’s still life, Pear Study, is countered by a sense of prolonged stillness in Will Reader’s austere, calm, hyper-realist wintry landscape, New Growth. The watercolor medium perfectly captures these two moments of artistic reflection. Both artists successfully express a sense of familiarity through their portrayals of common, everyday subjects despite their differing artistic styles. The variety of approaches to the watercolor medium seen in A Century of Ohio Watercolor comes together as part of a greater narrative and a common connectedness.

Willard Reader_New Growth_web only

Will Reader, “New Growth,” 2014, 14.5″ x 19″

Enjoy the history, tradition, and artistic excellence in A Century of Ohio Watercolor, then grab a paintbrush, Ohio. Here’s to the next century!

Learn more about A Century of Ohio Watercolor and related events here.

10th Annual Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest

POL2014_colorby Katie Swett

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest (POL). To celebrate this milestone, the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) is reconnecting with POL alumni who will share their experiences at the 2015 Ohio POL State Finals. Never heard of Poetry Out Loud? The exciting new video, “10 Years of Poetry Out Loud!,” is a great introduction to the program.

POL school champions will compete for cash prizes and a trip to participate in the national finals in Washington, D.C., on April 27-29, 2015. The national winner is awarded $20,000. The 2014 Ohio POL state champion, Lake Wilburn of Columbus, came in second at the national finals last April and won a $10,000 prize.

Last year, more than 8,000 students from 50 schools around Ohio participated in POL. Ohio’s POL program has grown steadily as teachers and students discover the joys of memorizing and reciting poetry while enhancing students’ public speaking skills and cultivating self-confidence.

There’s still time to join more than 55 schools who have registered for POL 2015. The OAC offers teacher training, student coaching, and the services of a project coordinator who works to support POL participants and organize the state contest. Teachers who register online will also receive a free comprehensive toolkit containing all the materials needed to implement the program. Registered schools, including 19 new to the program, have already begun school contests to choose their 2015 champions; get yours started today!

For more Poetry Out Loud information, teaching materials, or assistance with registration, contact Ohio‘s POL project coordinator Katie Swett by telephone at 614/728-4481 or by email. Visit the Ohio Poetry Out Loud website here.

Upcoming POL Events

February 16, 2015
Deadline to submit school champion names and their three poems to the OAC.

February 21, 2015, 1:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
School Champion Workshop

Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts
Riffe Gallery
77 South High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

At the workshop, students will discuss interpretations of their chosen poems, practice recitation, and receive feedback. Experienced Poetry Out Loud judge and Columbus-area poet Nancy Kangas will lead the workshop, along with OAC POL staff.

March 7, 2015, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Ohio POL State Finals

Lincoln Theatre
769 East Long Street
Columbus, Ohio 43203

Poetry Out Loud is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation. Across the country, state arts agencies work with high school teachers to promote and implement the program. The Ohioana Library Association, Thurber House, the Ohio Center for the Book in Cleveland, and Tuesday Musical Association assist the OAC in presenting POL in Ohio.

News from the National Endowment for the Arts

by Molly Rutledge

Guidelines and application materials for two National Endowment for the Arts funding categories, ArtWorks and Challenge America, have been posted on the NEA’s website.

The NEA and California Arts Council will host From Surveys to Solutions: Engaging Audiences in the Arts which will include an announcement by Chairman Chu of three new NEA research reports that explore who participates in the arts and why, as well, how the arts act as an economic engine.

“Imagine Your Parks,” a new grant initiative created in partnership by the NEA and the National Park Service, will provide $1 million in funding through the NEA Art Works grant category to projects that use the arts to engage people with memorable places and landscapes of the National Park System.

Community Partnership for Arts and Culture was featured in NEA Arts Magazine for their white paper, Creative Minds in Medicine: A Cleveland Creative Intersection. The case studies examined the impact of the arts on healing in Cleveland, Ohio.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to strengthen the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

January Message from the Executive Director

Donna newsletter“Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

This quote comes from Angela Lee Duckworth, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Her recent TED Talk focuses on “grit” as the key to reaching our long-term goals and as a better predictor of future success than conventionally-wise characteristics, like wealth or raw intellect.

As many of us set (and reset!) resolutions for the new year, it seems appropriate for us to focus on our grit. 2015 marks the Ohio Arts Council’s 50th anniversary–a celebration of 50 years of public funding and support for the arts in Ohio, and an impossible accomplishment if not for the grit shown by arts leaders throughout our state.

It is also the year the Ohio Arts Council unveils our 2015-2017 arts and cultural plan for Ohio. To shape our next three years of work, nearly 6,000 people responded to our public survey, and more than 500 people participated in our Engagement Tour events, focus groups, and interviews. You and many of your colleagues and friends offered your suggestions–and we listened.

The rubber meets the gritty road next year! We will live our vision, centered on the big ideas of innovation, investment, and engagement. We intuitively know, and data supports, that our future as a state arts agency depends on meeting your needs as artists, arts presenters, and arts educators. We know that individuals and organizations need a variety of resources to succeed and prosper, from grant award funds and new opportunities to collaborate, to professional development and a sense of community where people come together as thought leaders and visionaries through arts and culture.

We know that Ohio’s arts leaders are built on passion and perseverance, two of Dr. Duckworth’s essentials to grit. Our very best arts leaders are mission-driven, people-focused, and forward-acting. All of us must engage, invest, and innovate to be relevant. We must work together to demonstrate the value of the arts through the investment of local, state, and federal resources, while enjoying the benefits of the arts to our personal and professional lives.

The Ohio Arts Council is focusing on you in 2015! It’s going to be our best year ever. Let’s get gritty in 2015 to ensure a healthy, meaningful, and prosperous future for the arts in Ohio!

Until we meet,


Donna S. Collins
Executive Director

2014 Year in Review: A Look Back

SC1766-Ohio Arts Council Portraits-07-29-14-Dan Katona-287As the holiday leftovers are finished up, the snow and snow days begin accumulating, and another new year begins to take shape, let’s take a moment to look back. For Ohio’s arts and cultural sector, 2014 was a year of accolades and accomplishments, recognition and transition, and, above all, community and creativity. While 2015 is still in its infancy, it’s a perfect time to reflect on just a few noteworthy moments from the last 12 months:

The frigid start to 2014 was one of many new beginnings in the arts in Ohio – and for the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) as well. The Cleveland Museum of Art released its ArtLens mobile app, so anyone anywhere could browse their world-class collection. Nearby, the fifth annual Brite Winter arts festival doubled in size, becoming the biggest event all year in Ohio City. The second phase of the Arts in Autism initiative kicked off, a partnership between the OAC and VSA Ohio studying access to the arts by students and young people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. We loved the new analysis by Wright State University’s Center for Urban and Public Affairs, estimating that greater Dayton’s creative industries generated a whopping 18,000 jobs and $22 million in tax revenues. Ohio’s ninth annual Poetry Out Loud recitation contest crowned its champion: Lake Wilburn, a high school junior from Columbus. And in February, our own transition: Donna S. Collins was selected to become the agency’s new executive director, bringing with her 20 years of arts leadership, insight, and experience.

Spring was a time for celebrating, beginning with the OAC’s Riffe Gallery, which marked its 25th anniversary. The gallery, housed in the lobby of the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, first opened on March 17, 1989. Ohio Poetry Out Loud champion Lake Wilburn finished as runner-up in the national finals held in Washington, DC, reciting Philip Levine’s “They Feed They Lion” in the final round. Ohio received the second-highest state arts partnership grant in the nation from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) – $949,700, all of which was distributed to Ohio grantees – for an impressive fifth year in a row. The Ohioana Library celebrated its 85th anniversary and staged its 8th annual book festival, the largest in Ohio. Tickets to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s laser-infused LumenoCity 2014 sold out in an incredible 12 minutes. And the Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio honored six outstanding artists, arts organizations, arts patrons, and businesses that support the arts in Ohio. Held in partnership with the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation on Arts Day, all involved enjoyed another smashing success.

The spirit of celebration continued into the heat of summertime. The last day of the Ohio State Fair featured incredible performances by traditional master artists Baba Jubal Harris and his students. The OAC announced 481 grants totaling $9.4 million for Ohio arts organizations, arts education programs, and artists, made possible by a 31.8 percent increase in biennial funding from the Ohio Governor and General Assembly. At the federal level, the NEA announced that two of its 66 Our Town grants would go to Ohio organizations: Cleveland’s L.A.N.D. Studio, Inc. ($100,000) and the Westcott House Foundation in Springfield ($75,000). WOSU won Emmy Awards for its cultural weekly series “Broad & High” and documentary “John Glenn: A Life of Service.”  New NEA chairman Jane Chu visited Ohio to address students and arts leaders at The Ohio State University’s Barnett Center. West Chester’s Carolyn Mazloomi, nationally known authority on African-American quilts and quilt-making, was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship Award. The streets were filled during the 14th annual Washboard Music Festival in Logan, home to the nation’s last remaining washboard manufacturing facility. And Ohio Governor John Kasich led the unveiling of the $2.1 million Ohio Holocaust and Liberator’s Memorial on the grounds of the statehouse in downtown Columbus, featuring a striking sculpture by Daniel Libeskind, the son of Holocaust survivors.

And as the leaves changed and the school buses returned, the good work continued. The 95th Toledo Area Artists Exhibition – described as one of the last shows of its kind in the nation – opened at the Toledo Museum of Art. The OAC’s International Music and Performing Arts in Communities Tour (IMPACT), featuring Ecuadorian musicians Andes Manta, conducted performances and outreach in Ashland, Wilmington, Marietta, Pemberville, Cridersville, and Lorain. We cheered as 20-year old newcomer Kaley Voorhees of Aurora landed a leading role in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera. And we paused to remember Athens’ ubiquitous Bob Winters – educator, activist, mentor, and tireless regional arts supporter – after his passing. The OAC Engagement Tour visited artists and organizations in and around Dayton, Shawnee, Canton, and Piqua, engaging with community members and discussing the future. And the inaugural Zanesville Prize was awarded, with Best of Show awarded to Christine Golden’s “Kids in the Garden 2”; the $20,000 award was the largest best of show ceramics prize in the Western Hemisphere.

As the year closed, Ohio Governor John Kasich signed Senator Kearney’s legislation, Senate Bill 84, making Ohio the 45th state to establish a state poet laureate, and Zanesville sculptor Alan Cottrill was chosen to create a statue of Thomas Edison for display at Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.

Though this list barely scratches the surface, 2014 was another incredibly exciting year for the arts in Ohio. Congratulations to your successes last year and good luck with your upcoming projects. We can’t wait to see what the new year brings.

Dan Katona
Deputy Director
Ohio Arts Council

National Endowment for the Arts 2015 Funding Guidelines Posted

Arts Works and Challenge America Have February, April, and July 2015 Deadlines

Washington, DC—Guidelines and application materials for two National Endowment for the Arts funding categories have been posted on the NEA’s website. The 2015 Art Works and Challenge America programs support projects anticipated to take place beginning in 2016. Any non-profit 501(c)3 organization, unit of state or local government, or federally recognized tribal community with at least a three year programming history is eligible to apply for project-based support through these two programs. Together, Art Works and Challenge America constitute approximately 75 percent of the NEA’s annual direct grantmaking (exclusive of state and regional partnership agreements).

Art Works is the NEA’s largest funding category, supporting the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Matching grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000.  In fiscal year 2014, the NEA supported 1799 grants totaling $49.4 million through Art Works. The deadlines for Art Works applications are February 19 and July 23, 2015 depending on the artistic discipline and/or type of project for which an organization seeks support.

Challenge America offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations—those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. In fiscal year 2014, Challenge America funded 147 grants totaling $1.47 million. The deadline for Challenge America is April 16, 2015.

Guidelines and application materials are in the Apply for a Grant section of the NEA website.

To see the kinds of projects supported through these two categories, go to the Recent Grants section of the NEA website.

In order to offer potential applicants the highest level of technical assistance, the NEA has scheduled webinars covering the basics of the Art Works and Challenge America funding categories, including how to apply to the NEA, how to select work samples, and how to prepare a strong application. After each presentation, there will be time for Q and A with NEA staff.

The Art Works webinar is scheduled for January 21, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. ET. The Challenge America session will be on March 11, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. ET. To sign up for either or both webinars, go to the webinar section of the NEA website.

Both webinars will be archived shortly after each event and posted on the NEA website in the webinar section.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to strengthen the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

OOVAR Juried Art Show

by Molly Rutledge

1712 OOVAR_Postcard_FrontThe Ohio Arts Council (OAC), the Columbus Metropolitan Library, and the Friends of the Library have joined together again to present the ninth annual Ohio Online Visual Artist Registry (OOVAR) Juried Show. OOVAR is an online database of artwork by more than 1,300 artists from around the world. The exhibition highlights original artwork created by Ohio artists who are members of OOVAR.

The show is on display at the Columbus Main Library in the Carnegie Gallery through January 10, 2015.  The artwork was selected through a blind jury process.

This year’s jurors include Tonia Derring, Columbus Metropolitan Library-Arts & Media; Mary Pat Martin, Friends of the Library; and Petra Kralickova, the Kennedy Museum of Art at Ohio University. The exhibition is coordinated by Columbus artist and gallery owner Stephanie Rond.

An award of $1,000 will be given for Juror’s Choice and an award of $500 will be presented for People’s Choice. The People’s Choice award is selected by visitors to the exhibition and library patrons. Ballots are available at the Carnegie Gallery; cast your vote by January 3, 2015. The awards will be presented at a closing reception on Saturday, January 10, 2015 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. in the Carnegie Gallery. Please join us!

For more information about OOVAR, click here. For questions, contact Kathy Signorino at 614/728-6140 or by email.

Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Ohio Governor’s Residence

by Molly Rutledge

Jessica Summers

Jessica Summers, “Time to Think,” 2012, 45″ x 45″, oil on canvas

“Spotlight: Featured Artists at the Ohio Governor’s Residence” is a program created by Ohio’s First Lady Karen W. Kasich which celebrates the work of Ohio artists by showcasing their artwork to visitors of the Ohio Governor’s Residence and Heritage Garden. Since 1985, the OAC has assisted in placing artwork by Ohio artists and Ohio cultural institutions in the Governor’s Residence and throughout the Governor’s offices located in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts.

On view nowJessica Summers provides a retrospective look at works she has created over the past several years. The pieces, including Time to Think (pictured), date from 2011, the year she moved to Ohio from North Carolina and chose to pursue art full-time. She displays her work in this way because, in her words, “From the time that I resumed painting until now, my work has changed significantly in terms of process and content from quiet, observational still lifes to more elaborate, figurative narratives composed from multiple photographs.” Summers is especially captivated by the capabilities of lighting. She creates constructed realities in her paintings by utilizing dramatic lighting and camera angles inspired by film and theatre. Her use of lighting, composition, and cropping of everyday objects creates unique, intriguing narratives.

Summers holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in two-dimensional studies and art education and a Master of Fine Arts in two-dimensional studies, both from Bowling Green State University. She was an art educator from 2004 until 2011, and her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. She is represented by Brandt-Roberts Gallery in Columbus and Bonfoey Gallery in Cleveland. Her work will be on display at the Governor’s Residence through December 2014.

Coming soon: Xenia-based artist Doug McLarty will showcase his whimsical, botanical photographs January through March 2015.

The “Spotlight” program is on display at the Governor’s Residence. All Ohio artists are eligible to submit their work for consideration. Quarterly artists will be selected by the Office of the Ohio First Lady with assistance from the Ohio Arts Council. Ohio artists interested in submitting work for consideration should contact OAC Individual Artist Program Director Ken Emerick for further details. To be eligible for the program the artist cannot be a student enrolled in a degree-granting program and must be a resident of the state of Ohio.